An Owners View

On this page you will find information about dog ownership straight from an owners point of view. It will include the negative as well as the positive of owning certain breeds, puppies and rescue dogs. All statements are direct from owners in my classes. If you are thinking of getting a new dog please read the following.

Flatcoated Retrievers

Many Flatcoat owners refer to the breed as ‘Happy Flatties’ for that is exactly what they are. What a problem those happy tails can be.  Flatcoats wag non-stop, they enjoy the sound of the tail beating against a radiator, a cupboard door, a table leg, but soon the tail can be damaged.  I also soon learned about the flattie’s commitment to water, when at 3 months old my puppy leapt into a canal and swam for joy.  We hoisted him out as soon as we could and he promptly leapt back in. On another occasion he almost pulled my husband into a lake.  As well as water, they enjoy mud, dirty ditches, getting wet in the rain – a wet flattie is a happy flattie – and then to complete the picture they enjoy nothing more than giving you a hearty greeting when they are wet through and filthy creating a waggy mud trail 3ft high up the kitchen units. I can say that the two flatties we had from puppies were easy to train because we started young and we found them quick and willing to learn.   The Flatcoat who is left to his own devices, like many dogs, will be quick to learn to do his own thing and learn it well!

Lynne (owned by flatties for 22 years)

Hungarian Wirehaired Vizsla

I have found the wire Vizsla to be affectionate with the family but can be wary of strangers (sometimes in a vocal way). They are an excellent warning system as they like the sound of their own voice and can pick up something or someone suspicious a mile away, although it may just be an odd looking tree stump! They are a dog who forms a real partnership in regards to training but due to their high intelligence get bored easily. They are not good at doing things for the sake of it. This is most definitely a house dog and usually a ‘on the bed dog’ too. When around other dogs they are not afraid to stick up for themselves, but are not keen on fighting.

Sam (owned by 2 HWV)

Golden Retriever

Goldies. Big, hairy, lovable clowns. All of ours have had unique characters but all very social animals both with people and other dogs. They are not usually noisy dogs, but can be stubborn ( in a nice way!) Be prepared for hairs floating gently around the room, their hair is much finer than Labradors and will collect in corners! Biddable and can be trained with the right encouragement which is usually food , so they can gain weight easily. They need to be trained young to walk well on the lead as they are deceptively strong dogs, once, a friend who owned a Rottie was dragged across a field by one of our goldies. They enjoy a good roll on their backs, we have had three that used to perform synchronized rolls which is fun to watch as long as it’s not on a muddy mole hill.  They usually develop a habit of carrying something on a walk as they get older – ball, stick, toy, half a tree, child’s dummy or any other object that they think is the best find in the world. Be prepared to get addicted to this breed.

Denise & Rob (owned by Goldies for nearly 30 years)

What if you’ve not got decades of experience?  Well, nothing you read or anything other Golden people say is going to prepare you for the impact on heart and home a Goldie will bring.  From Day 1, that little fluff-pup is carrying out its own training and conditioning – of you!  No matter how much you may think that you are training your Golden; its acceptance of your commands, your do’s and don’ts, is just a ruse.  Those big brown eyes and independently moving eyebrows are assessing you constantly.  Your kitchen will never be so tidy; they’re not called “counter cruisers” for nothing.  That gentle muzzle-nuzzle isn’t love; your paper hankie is being lifted out of your pocket.  Socks and gloves make way better chew toys than the most expensive Kong.  Ever tried to see how long you can keep a Polo Mint in your mouth?  Your Golden pal can keep a baby duckling in there for much longer, without crunching!  That’s a high value treat blackmail job; she gets sardines in olive oil, you get a soggy suffocated bird.  Just spent out on a lovely trim, wash and groom for your best pal?  Within thirty seconds, or thirty yards, that new look is having a mud bath in a greasy puddle.  If you’re really lucky, ‘eau-de-dog’ is also replaced by ‘eau-de-fox poo’.  Remember, a wet muddy Golden is a happy Golden.  But, dear friend, all that counts for nothing, nada, zilch, because your Golden loves people, and most importantly loves you.  When that warm Golden “Jason’s Magic Fleece” of a dog is lying next to you on the sofa with its head in your lap, snoring gently, all is well.  And as Golden ‘owned by’s’ will attest, when your Goldie does that ecstatic wiggle-wriggle on its back, you and he/she are laughing!

John (owned by Bella for 14months)

Tibetan Terrier

They are fiercely loyal little dogs – and the nearest I have ever come to owning a living, breathing teddy bear!  Having owned two now, I can honestly say I would not choose to have any other breed first.  They are intelligent, friendly and very affectionate animals – at least both of mine have been.  They are also real rascals and will get up to all sorts of mischief if left to their own devices.  As a breed they seem to have a penchant for socks so be prepared, if you buy one, to wear odd socks, or spend hours finding them and pairing them up again!

Luckily, however, I am not at all house-proud, am able to afford to take him to be bathed and groomed on a regular basis and very rarely go away on holidays etc and when I do, my daughter is still at home to look after him.  On the downside, he is messy, smells of wet woollies when out in the rain, and is wary of other dogs.  He also suffers from separation anxiety if he is not about 2 feet away from me – as a rescue dog I am not sure whether this is due to his own experience or whether he would be the same if I had had him from a puppy.   My first one was owned from a puppy and, although he decided he was mine first, before the rest of the family, he did not worry in the same way if I was not around.

If you are looking for a companion and are prepared to make your dog a part of your life then a Tibetan may be ideal for you – just be prepared to work hard with training, have mud, leaves and grass as part of your interior décor and give as much as s/he gives in return and you won’t go far wrong.

Ann ( owned by Dobbie)

English Bull Terrier

Strong muscular build, well balanced and a keen determined and intelligent expression, egg shaped head like no other and a solid with mischievous, triangular deep set eyes, also described as a three year old in a dog suit. They have a short coat that sticks to everything, a mitt with rubber teeth is ideal for removing dead coat.Regular exercise is a must as they need to expel all their energy otherwise they will take it out on your house. We recommend that you have a crate so that they can be left safely for a few hours as they will eat anything and re-design your kitchen if left to their own devices. Super robust toys required. They are known to have a sudden burst of energy, that’s when they pretend to be a Greyhound and tear around at full speed bouncing off all manner of things, spinning is another trait. Bull Terriers have a mind of their own, they can be trained in obedience but most bullies have more self-entertaining things to do. You will need to provide firm, logical and affectionate training, food orientated. It’s fairly common to encounter deafness and allergies in Bull Terriers, mostly the white variety. A natural clown, family dog, that loves to entertain, affectionate, a loving loyal companion .All a bully wants is to be with you, doesn’t matter what your doing as long as their doing it with you. They love nothing more than to curl on your bed or cuddle up on the sofa with you.

Karen (Once a bully owner always a bully owner).

English Springer Spaniel

Lizzie is a ‘show bred’  ESS and Diana and Robert have owned 6 in total.  Springers have very long ears which are really good for getting bits of rice pudding and gravy stuck to the ends to save for later. They can also be quite a fashion accessory with leaves attahched like earrings and have the benefit of being quite useful as ear muffs in winter. Lizzie loves to flush out any form of bird, cat, rabbit and even better still if she can find a rotting seal or fish to roll in. With very soulful eyes they work wounders for getting what she wants like treats and the best thing in her life is going for lots of walks chasing a ball then curling up on the sofa alongside us. Downside is the 6 weekly trim of ears and legs.

Diana and Robert (springers through and through)